SPRINGHILL – A Webster Parish grand jury has indicted 15-year-old KeShawn Johnson on a charge of second-degree murder and, according to Assistant District Attorney Hugo Holland, he will be tried as an adult.
The teen was arrested in June in connection with the 2017 slaying of North Webster Knights former star running back, 17-year-old Jaylen Thomas.
Josh Lewis, 17, of Cullen, is also accused of Thomas’ death and charged with second-degree murder. He plead not guilty on Feb 12 in Webster District Court in Minden, and remains incarcerated on a $2 million bond.
Early on in the investigation, authorities said there was no indication that a second person was involved, but that all changed when evidence brought forth by the crime lab showed that two guns – both .45 caliber handguns – were used to kill Thomas.
According to authorities, the shooting stemmed from a dispute that started at school. Later, the evening of Nov 27, Thomas was walking back to work at Springhill’s Sonic drive-in after going to visit his girlfriend during his break, when he was shot repeatedly.
With Thomas unable to get up, the shooters stood over him and fired approximately half a dozen or more shots before getting back into their vehicle and driving away. Fourteen shots were fired and two unspent rounds were also found at the scene.
According to Sheriff Gary Sexton, Johnson has been transferred from Ware Youth Detention Center in Coushatta to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center, where he will be held away from the adult inmates.
Thomas’ mother, Danicka Thomas-Hayes, has worked seeking justice for her son, petitioning for Johnson to be tried as an adult, and pleased with the results thus far. Despite the fact that a district judge granted a defense motion that will limit the display of photographs or any other remembrances of Thomas in the courtroom during the trial.
“So his [Johnson’s] lawyer feels that our shirts and other attire with Jaylen’s picture may prejudice the jury,” said Hayes. “That’s okay. We will get justice regardless. Just watch God work.”
State law allows a victim’s family to have only a single 8×10 photograph of the victim. No t-shirts, buttons, or other items with the victim’s image on it can be displayed.